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Red Sox drop Grapefruit League opener to Rays as Jose Iglesias goes yard 02.23.13 at 4:25 pm ET
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FORT MYERS, Fla. — John Lackey worked his way out of a bases-loaded jam in the first inning, allowing one run in 20 pitches, while Jose Iglesias hit a two-run homer over the Monster as the Red Sox fell to the Rays, 4-3, Saturday afternoon at JetBlue Park in the Grapefruit League opener for both clubs. Xander Bogaerts, in his final at-bat before leaving for the WBC, singled home a run in the ninth to make it close. Daniel Nava struck out looking with the tying run on base to end the game before a sellout crowd of 9,680 at JetBlue Park.

Lackey was making his first outing since Sept. 25, 2011 and his first since Tommy John surgery on his right elbow.

He allowed one run, one hit, walked one, struck out one and a hit a batter as the Rays managed just one run after loading the bases with none out in the first.

Ryan Roberts drove in the game’s first run with a sacrifice fly to right off Lackey, scoring Ben Zobrist. The Rays added another in the third as Jarrod Saltalamacchia had an inning to forget. He dropped a foul pop that extended the at-bat of Jack Cust. On the next pitch, Desmond Jennings stole third and Saltalamacchia’s throw sailed into left field, allowing Jennings to score, making it 2-0.

The Red Sox went quietly in the first six innings before Jeremy Hazelbaker walked with one out. Iglesias followed by driving a first-pitch fastball over the Monster in left for Boston’s first homer of the spring, tying the game, 2-2.

The Rays got those two runs back in the eighth when Leslie Anderson drilled a two-run homer to right off Red Sox righty Oscar Villarreal (0-1) with two outs.

Saltalamacchia, Jacoby Ellsbury and Hazelbaker had doubles as extra-base hits accounted for four of Boston’s seven hits on the day.

The Red Sox return to action across the state on Sunday as they take on the St. Louis Cardinals in Jupiter at 1:05 p.m. as lefty Jon Lester makes his spring debut. Boston plays split-squad games on Monday with Steven Wright starting against Toronto in Dunedin at 1:05 p.m. and Alfredo Aceves starting against Tampa Bay in Port Charlotte at 1:05 p.m.

POST-GAME NOTES from John Farrell:

On the homer from Iglesias: ‘€œWish there were a couple more like it. As we have commented on him as camp has unfolded, he’€™s a little bit more upright, a little more free in his overall swing. He got a fastball up in the zone and did what he’€™s capable of doing. I think more than anything, it’€™s just the freeness and aggressiveness of the swing.”

On Xander Bogaerts, RBI single, nice defensive play in rundown: ‘€œA good heads up play on the rundown we executed. He’€™s got a good swing through the zone and like I said the other day, he’€™s a bright-looking young player. He’€™s heady. He’€™s got field awareness. Good things are ahead for him.’€

On Daniel Nava first base defense: ‘€œAs we’€™ve seen in the work, that wasn’€™t an easy play on that ground ball by [Ben] Zobrist. He looks fine over there for right now. The little things, even on the errant throw [by Iglesias] that you see the footwork where he adjusted on the bag, some things that are more instinctual. To have him step in and the last time he played first base was in junior college, and he’€™s handled it well.”

On Clay Buchholz 37-pitch simulated game: ‘€œHe’€™ll have a side on Monday and then he’€™s set to go Tuesday or Wednesday. It’€™s yet to be determined. We’€™ll fit that into how it starts to plan out for the start of the regular season. He’€™s gradually ramping up the intensity [on fielding], not only just with field tests as far as straight-ahead running or any kind of cuts, but in time, that’€™ll take its place. We want to prioritize the work he does on the mound right now.’€

For more, visit the Red Sox team page at weei.com/redsox.

Read More: 2013 spring training, Boston Red Sox, john lackey, jose iglesias
John Lackey on his spring debut: ‘I missed playing baseball’ at 3:29 pm ET
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FORT MYERS, Fla. — John Lackey is a changed man.

After allowing one run on one hit, one strikeout, one walk and one hit batter in his spring debut Saturday, the 34-year-old right-hander admitted to being his age, laughed about his 20-pitch outing and expressed appreciation for feeling no pain in his elbow for the first time since signing with the Red Sox before the 2010 season.

“I’ve lied, for sure, about that,” Lackey said when asked if he hid arm pain from the Red Sox in the first three seasons with the team. “There’s definitely some pain. There were a few times when I said there wasn’t but it’s been a few years, for sure.”

Despite loading the bases with none out on the first 10 pitches he threw, he was enjoying the experience all the while on the JetBlue mound.

“I did,” he said. “I kind of took a second before I went out on the mound and reflected on the bench on the past year and a half. It’s been a lot of work and have to thank a lot of trainers, a lot of people that helped me get back to this point. I was excited to be back out there.

“[I was] excited. It was fun. I missed playing baseball for sure. It was good to be back out there. The arm felt fine. I didn’t feel any pain in the elbow. Just keep moving forward.”

Lackey allowed one run, one hit, one walk, struck out a batter and hit a batter in a 20-pitch first inning of work, his only inning of the day.

“Results stuff I really wasn’t real concerned about today,” he said. “Just glad to be back out there and get things going in that direction. Next time out we’ll get to working on a few other things.”

What did his manager think?

‘€œThe ball got out of his hand as we expected today,” John Farrell said. ‘€œIt’€™s a big step, and it’€™s one over the last 16 months, he was on his program, and at times, he probably felt like he was the only one going through it. And today was the first step for his building block for spring training and getting back to being a regular member of this rotation.

‘€œI think there was a lot of anticipation on a number of people’€™s part, and mostly John’€™s. But now, he’€™s able to get into his five-day rotation, normal sides, normal turns through the schedule. But a good first step for him.’€

Farrell said the plan is to increase to two innings for his next outing, likely in five days against the Pirates in Bradenton, and increase by one inning in each subsequent start.

‘€œThat’€™s the plan,” Farrell said. “He’€™ll build with each consecutive outing, an inning at a time.’€

Lackey admitted he had some nerves taking the mound.

“There’s definitely some for sure,” Lackey said. “It got better as I got a little bit more tired. The ball started coming down a little bit but first couple of hitters, I was up in the zone. I was just going to throw all fastballs today just trying to build arm strength. I think I tried one changeup, that’s it. The rest of them were all fastballs. It’s a little different than throwing on the side for sure.”

Lackey said he wasn’t worried about velocity in the first game of the spring, a game in which he threw no breaking balls.

“The first game after Tommy John? No. I was just trying to hit the glove in the air today. The plan was one inning all along. I look forward to the next time for sure,” Lackey said.

Read More: 2013 spring training, Boston Red Sox, john lackey, MLB
John Lackey rebounds, allows one run on 20 pitches in spring debut at 2:18 pm ET
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FORT MYERS, Fla. — Well John Lackey has the art of getting out of a big jam down so far in spring training.

In his first 10 pitches Saturday against the Rays at JetBlue Park, he walked Ben Zobrist on five pitches, allowed a first-pitch single to Desmond Jennings and hit Matt Joyce on the fourth pitch of the at-bat to load the bases with none out.

Lackey rebounded to strike out Jack Cust swinging on four pitches, one of his two swing-and-miss offerings on the day. Ryan Roberts drove a 1-0 pitch to right field for a sacrifice fly to score Zobrist.

Lackey completed his comeback, getting Sean Rodriguez to fly out to right for the final out.

His line: 1 IP, 1 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 1 K and 1 HBP on 20 pitches, 10 strikes.

His pitch-by-pitch went like this:

Zobrist: BBBLB
Jennings: X (single to left)
Joyce: BFBX(hit by pitch)
Cust: BLLS
Roberts: BX(Sac fly to right)
Rodriguez: SBLX (fly to right)

For more, visit the Red Sox team page at weei.com/redsox.

Read More: 2013 spring training, Boston Red Sox, john lackey, MLB
Clay Buchholz: ‘No restrictions’ in simulated game as hamstring comes through fine at 1:22 pm ET
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FORT MYERS, Fla. — Clay Buchholz said he felt good after throwing 37 pitches in Saturday morning’s simulated game outside JetBlue Park. Buchholz says he still needs to work on his delivery from the stretch but other than that felt good with his command and his secondary pitches. Buchholz said he felt no ill effects from a very minor right hamstring strain in the first week of camp.

Buchholz threw his whole arsenal of pitches from the windup and stretch, struggling a little bit with his secondary pitches from the stretch in the second inning of his two-inning simulation.

“There’s no restrictions here. I felt really good,” Buchholz said. “The one thing that I definitely need to work on that I haven’t had the chance to is work out of the stretch. Didn’t really go in-depth with it. There were definitely some kinks in the delivery. Other than that, I felt strong. First and foremost, the arm feels really good. The hamstring is sort of secondary to that to me.

“There were no issues. I’ve been running the last couple of days, sprint stuff and I haven’t had anything holding me back so that felt good.”

Buchholz tweaked his right hamstring bending over to pick up a grounder in PFP drills on the first day of camp on Feb. 12. He fielded a high chop on the final pitch to Mike Carp on Saturday but he acknowledged that he hasn’t tested it full yet in game speed.

“I’ve done a little bit of that, too,” Buchholz said of fielding drills. “I haven’t gone completely full speed with that but it can’t be that far away I feel, just keep treating it and go from there.

“They told me four days ago if it was midseason and I needed to pitch, I could pitch. We’re basically treating this as we have two extra weeks here in spring training. There’s no rush for me to get back. I’m still going to have six, maybe seven outings in spring before we head north. I don’t think there’s anything that’s going to be holding me back in the next few days.”

Read More: 2013 spring training, Boston Red Sox, Clay Buchholz, MLB
Red Sox Saturday morning notes: Clay Buchholz throws 37 pitches in simulated game at 11:17 am ET
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FORT MYERS, Fla. — Clay Buchholz threw his first simulated game Saturday morning on the training fields outside JetBlue Park as the Red Sox prepared to take on the Tampa Bay Rays in the main park in the official Grapefruit League opener.

Buchholz threw a majority of off-speed and breaking pitches in the two-inning simulation with minor league outfielder Juan Carlos Linares and Mike Carp standing in and taking occasional swings against the Red Sox.

Buchholz threw a live batting practice session on Wednesday prior to Saturday’s test on the practice field beyond left field. Saturday’s starter John Lackey, Ryan Dempster, John Farrell and GM Ben Cherington all stood behind the batting cage watching as Buchholz completed his session. Franklin Morales also threw a simulated game Saturday morning, while Buchholz took a 10-minute break.

In other notes, Farrell confirmed that star infield prospect Xander Bogaerts will leave Saturday night for Taiwan to train with the Netherlands for the upcoming WBC tournament.

Mike Napoli and David Ortiz did some light running on the bases during Saturday morning’s batting practice on the main field but Napoli will go through a more formal base-running drill on Sunday before getting cleared for game action, likely in the middle-to-latter part of next week. Ortiz, meanwhile, is still behind Napoli but Farrell and the Red Sox have not outlined a specific timetable for his return to game action.

Farrell also said Saturday morning that the only way Napoli will be used as a catcher this season is in an emergency situation late in a game when Jarrod Saltalamacchia and David Ross are unavailable.

For more, visit the Red Sox team page at weei.com/redsox.

Read More: 2013 spring training, ben cherington, Boston Red Sox, Clay Buchholz
Red Sox lineup features mostly regulars for Grapefruit League opener at 9:19 am ET
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FORT MYERS, Fla. — The Red Sox will sport a lineup of mostly regulars for the debut of John Lackey in the 1:35 p.m. game against the Rays at JetBlue Park.

Here is the starting lineup for Saturday’s Grapefruit League opener:

CF Jacoby Ellsbury
2B Dustin Pedroia
RF Shane Victorino
C Jarrod Saltalamacchia
LF Jonny Gomes
SS Stephen Drew
3B Will Middlebrooks
1B Lyle Overbay
DH Ryan Sweeney

P John Lackey

The Rays will be sending a back-up unit of players as most of their regulars will stay behind for a split-squad game against the Pirates in Port Charlotte.

For more, visit the Red Sox team page at weei.com/redsox.

Read More: 2013 spring training, Boston Red Sox, john lackey, MLB
Mike Carp: ‘To put on a Red Sox uniform is definitely going to mean a lot’ 02.22.13 at 9:39 am ET
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FORT MYERS, Fla. — In the middle of his physical Friday morning at JetBlue Park, Mike Carp spoke about what it would mean to actually make the Red Sox‘ 25-man roster to open the season, one year after a shoulder injury he suffered in the MLB opener in Japan.

Carp dove for a fly ball in left field and injured his right shoulder in the opener against Oakland at the Tokyo Dome.

“You have 55,000 people over in Japan. I’m not coming out of that game,” Carp said Friday morning. “It’s the first game of the season. I’ve waited my whole life to make an opening day roster.”

He spent two stints on the disabled list trying to heal it while also battling a groin injury. One year after hitting .276 with 12 homers and 46 RBIs in 79 games for the Mariners in 2011, he fell to .213 in 59 games with just five home runs.

Now, following this week’s trade that sent him to Boston for a player to be named, he is competing for a big league roster spot on the Red Sox.

“I had a lot of expectations coming into last year,” Carp said. “Had a big 2011, finally getting an opportunity to play. Just one of those tough luck plays. It’s opening night. You can’t really write a better story than getting hurt opening night I guess. I think it’s going to make mentally tough and definitely kept me hungry for this year. I’m excited to be healthy for a full season.

(Click here to listen to Mike Carp talk Friday morning about joining the Red Sox.)

“[Healing the shoulder] took some time because it was a pretty significant injury but towards the end of the season, that second stint on the DL really helped. We went through the whole rehab process and have been feeling normal ever since. Nothing crazy, just had to wait for it to heal. Just banged up more than anything. No surgery or anything like that.

“I’m excited to be healthy. Going to out and perform the best I can and we’ll see what happens at the end of spring.”

Carp said he spent the last two weeks staying in shape and trying to be ready for whatever deal might come after being designated for assignment. He was traded to Boston and immediately placed on Boston’s 40-man roster since he has no options remaining.

“Just hanging out and kind of limbo and don’t want to do too much,” Carp said. “Obviously, stay in shape, doing light baseball stuff but didn’t want to go too crazy out there. Heard some rumors. To put on a Red Sox uniform is definitely going to mean a lot.”

The 26-year-old Carp is convinced that Boston is a good fit for him.

“Rebuilding, getting back at it, and winning ballclub,” Carp said. “We’re here to win. It’s not like the Mariners how you start from the bottom and try to work our way up. I’m excited to help out any way I can, play first, left, DH maybe. Get some opportunities and hopefully, take advantage of them.”

He knows he’s been brought in to compete with 36-year-old Lyle Overbay and Daniel Nava as a left-handed batting first base/outfield option.
Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: 2013 spring training, Boston Red Sox, daniel nava, Lyle Overbay
Joel Hanrahan, Daniel Bard lead shutout of Northeastern 02.21.13 at 4:28 pm ET
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FORT MYERS, Fla. — Daniel Bard threw 18 pitches in the second inning of Thursday’€™s 3-0 win over Northeastern as the Red Sox began spring training games at JetBlue Park. The right-hander struggled with fastball command early, turning to his slider.

He allowed a bloop single to Connor Lyons to open the inning but then, with a mid 90s fastball and a sharp slider, came right back to strike out the next three batters. Joel Hanrahan allowed a single, hit a batter and struck out 2 in his 17-pitch first inning.

“Joel really looked good,” Hanrahan’s catcher David Ross said. “I thought Joel’s ball was down, and his fastball was really jumping out of his hand. Early on you don’t want to do anything to speed up the college guys’ bats, but you also want to get work in. It’s kind of a tough thing calling a guy like that, but I thought Joel looked really nice.”

Offensively, Jarrod Saltalamacchia doubled home the first run and walked twice while Dustin Pedroia was caught looking for a strikeout in the first and hit into a 5-4-3 double play in the third. The double by Saltalamacchia was the only extra-base hit for the Red Sox in the game, as they finished with five hits. Despite holding the Huskies scoreless for seven innings, the Red Sox allowed Northeastern to take the field in the bottom of the seventh and scored twice more but those runs did not count in the box score.

For more, visit the Red Sox team page at weei.com/redsox.

Read More: 2013 spring training, Boston Red Sox, Daniel Bard, joel hanrahan
Jason Varitek ‘learning a lot’ as Red Sox catching instructor at 7:59 am ET
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FORT MYERS, Fla. — Former Red Sox catcher and captain Jason Varitek spoke Wednesday about what it means to him to be back in the organization as a catching instructor. Varitek is serving as a special assistant to general manager Ben Cherington, working with major-league and minor league catchers during spring training.

Read More: 2013 spring training, ben cherington, Boston Red Sox, Jason Varitek
Lyle Overbay on Mike Carp competition: ‘It’s not that big of a deal’ 02.20.13 at 3:14 pm ET
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FORT MYERS, Fla. — From the moment he signed a minor league contract with the Red Sox on Jan. 31, Lyle Overbay knew this was coming. The Red Sox mentioned to him then that they would likely be bringing in others to compete for the job of a left-handed hitting first baseman/left fielder to provide more roster depth.

So when he was spoken to by John Farrell and general manager Ben Cherington Wednesday, he was hardly caught off guard when told the Red Sox acquired left-handed hitting first baseman/outfielder Mike Carp from Seattle for a player to be named.

“I think that’s big; that shows you how respectful they are,” Overbay said. “Ben was the same way. Those type things are just something you are very, very welcome and thankful they’re able to do that.”

What did Farrell and Cherington tell Overbay?

“Same thing. I knew coming in that they might make a trade,” Overbay said. “It’s the same thing. If I want to compete and compete and see. It’s early. It’s not like it’s a week from opening day. It’s early. It’s not that big of a deal.”

[Click here to listen to Lyle Overbay address his role on the Red Sox after the trade for Mike Carp.]

As reporters approached his locker Wednesday after workouts, he showed a sense of humor, asking very rhetorically, ‘What do you want to talk about?'”

The 36-year-old Overbay says he embraces the competition with the 26-year-old Carp.

“You bring guys in here to win games and to give options because you never know those unknowns. I think that was their biggest thing, was playing the outfield and first base [against right-handed pitching]. I think that’s why Nava is taking ground balls at first. I knew all that coming into it. It’s not that big of a surprise. I just do what I can and see if I fit. That’s all I can do.

“It’s got to all work out. I know some of the numbers [matter]. I know John has to feel comfortable with four outfielders if he goes with me, that kind of thing. Those are little things when it comes down to it. I have to show I can perform so it’s yes and no.”

Overbay says he’s not concerned that he signed a minor league deal with the Red Sox, making his potential release relatively painless for the team. Additionally, Carp comes into camp automatically on the 40-man roster (Ryan Kalish was moved to 60-day DL to make room) while Overbay is simply on a minor league invite to big league camp with no 40-man spot guaranteed.

“I haven’t even thought about that really,” Overbay said. “I think it might. It just depends. I don’t want to sit here and say that yeah, ‘that works out for him.’ He’s got to come in here and prove it, too. I think it is [about] how it all works out and make sure everything works out. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: 2013 spring training, Boston Red Sox, Lyle Overbay, mike carp
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